ARSENAL know the exact date they will return to Premier League action, with a trip up the M6 to champions Man City scheduled for June 17.
And on the transfer front, the Gunners are reportedly hoping to replace Atletico Madrid target Alexandre Lacazette with Lyon's Moussa Dembele.
Get the latest news, gossip and updates from the Emirates here…
Arsenal have reportedly completed their first signing of the summer, capturing teenage winger George Lewis.
The Gunners are hoping to reshape their squad on a tight budget in the coming months, with new boss Mikel Arteta seeking to restore attractive, winning football in North London.
And it appears that 19-year-old Lewis has kick-started the summer of arrivals.
According to Gunners youth blogger Jeorge Bird, the former Fram Larvik youngster has earned a move to Emirates Stadium after impressing during a trial back in March.
Lewis will link up with the club's Under-23 side next season.
Born in Rwanda, a country who also happen to sponsor Arsenal's shirt sleeves, Lewis is also eligible to represent Norway at international level.
The Gunners appear to have held an interest for a while, with the player's agent having posted on Instagram from the Emirates in early March.
Arsenal have made their first signing of the summer, snapping up teenage winger George Lewis.
The 19-year-old previously played for Norwegian side Fram Larvik before being snapped up by the Gunners after a successful trial.
Born in Rwanda, a country which also happens to sponsor Arsenal's shirt, Lewis is eligible to play international football for either the country of his birth or Norway.
LINGARD MISSED TARGETS
Manchester United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard, who has been linked with Arsenal, claims his form suffered last season because he failed to set personal goals.
He said: “Trophies are the main thing and individual targets like goals and assists.
“Last season, for some reason, I didn’t set any targets. This season I’m going to have targets, I’m going to have goals that I need to hit, individually and as a team as well.
“I wanted to start fresh and come back with the right mindset and right attitude and that’s what I’ve done.”
HOW ARSENAL COULD LINE-UP FOR PREM RETURN
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta can now start ponderinghis line-up when Premier League football resumes on June 17 with a trip to his old club Manchester City.
Arteta has vastly improved, if not quite transformed the Gunners since taking over last December after being Etihad No2 to Pep Guardiola
Calum Chambers is training after surgery on knee ligament damage initially expected to keep him out until September.
It remains unlikely that he will play much this season however, but the versatile defender confirmed recently that his operation “went well”.
January loan signing Cedric Soares has joined his new teammates for the resumption of training as he pushes for a first appearance for the club.
In midfield, a question mark hangs over Lucas Torreira's availability also after the Uruguayan suffered an ankle injury in March.
Arsenal are being forced to release ten scouts in order to balance the books, according to reports.
Scouts who have unearthed talents like Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson are going to have to be released, according to the Mail.
According to reports, the staff members were told via email that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of June.
Many other staff members are fearful for their jobs.
MAKING A STAND
The Premier League have confirmed they WILL use neutral venues on police advice, as we reported earlier.
A statement reads: “The Premier League’s ambition is to complete all of our remaining fixtures this season home and away, where possible.
“We are working with our clubs to ensure all risks are assessed and minimised, while co-operating with the police at a local and national level.
“Discussions with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and UK Football Policing Unit have been positive and are continuing.
“We are prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral venue contingency.”
CHEER FOR FANS
Premier League chief exec Richard Masters is positive that there will be a return of fans to grounds in ‘phases’.
He said: “No one knows when matches will move away from the behind-closed-doors model and it is right to have contingency plans in place.
“But there is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season and it may happen on a phased basis.
“Hopefully it will be a huge morale boost and that is what we've been working towards.
“We've got some incredible fans in this country and we all know the Premier League as we know and love it won't be fully back until we have fans back through the turnstiles.
“Getting it back on our TV screens for people to enjoy will hopefully give the whole country a boost.”
PETR THE GREAT
Petr Cech has revealed he still feels the agony of defeat in last year's Europa League final… despite now working for the victors.
Chelsea thumped the Gunners 4-1 in Baku, in what turned out to be Maurizio Sarri's first trophy as a coach.
Days after the match, Cech left Arsenal for his former club, where he is now a technical director.
PSG are to battle with Arsenal and Tottenham over Chelsea winger Willian, according to reports in France.
The Brazilian is set to become one of the summer market's hottest properties if he cannot agree to a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
With Chelsea deemed unlikely to offer the 31-year-old his desired three-year deal, he will become a free agent at the end of the season.
Le10Sport report on PSG holding plenty of interest in offering Willian a chance to play for the Ligue 1 champions.
Arsenal, Barcelona and Spurs are also keeping an eye on his situation but Real Madrid are said to have turned down a chance to put in a bid.
Ok Diario detail how Zinedine Zidane felt the midfielder was too old to invest in with his right-wing position also not a priority at the Bernabeu.
KHAN'T RUSH IT
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is worried about the Premier League restarting – even though he is a Liverpool fan.
He fears it could lead to another rise in Covid-19 cases.
He said: “I am concerned about any action that could inadvertently lead to the virus spreading.
“Let me make a confession. Even though I'm a South Londoner, I support Liverpool and that's why a small part of my brain is keen for us to return.
“But actually the bigger part of my brain is saying safety is what matters.
“All of us need cheering up and there's nothing more joyous for sports fans than watching sport on TV, even without the crowds – but we need to make sure we don't inadvertently give an opportunity to the virus to spread.”
Hotshot Lille striker Victor Osimhen, 21, is among the strikers being linked with Newcastle as well as Arsenal – according to the player’s agent.
He said: “I can confidently tell you that the only club that wants Victor 100 per cent right now is Napoli.
“But the final decision on whether he wants to join them lies with him.
“Also, Newcastle are in the race just like Tottenham.
“But it’s just interest alone. No real sign of commitment from them.
“I think with the pressure from different clubs in Europe, I doubt if he will stay with Lille in the coming season.”
William Saliba can hit the ground running and cure Arsenal's defensive woes, according to Claude Puel.
The French coach has overseen Saliba's loan spell at Saint-Etienne since taking charge of the Ligue 1 side in November.
With 17 appearances under his belt in an injury-hit campaign that ended prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the centre-back is now heading to North London for a transfer completed last summer.
And Puel believes the 19-year-old has the mentality to succeed at Arsenal, both on and off the pitch.
The former Leicester manager told The Athletic: “He is ready.
“He is a fantastic player. He is a young player but with a lot of maturity in his play.
“Also, in his life. He is a player with a good feeling and spirit.”
The FA Cup semi-finals will take place over the weekend of 18-19 July, according to the FA.
The schedule for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-finals, which was originally drawn on March 4, are due to take place on June 27 and 28:
- Leicester City v Chelsea
- Newcastle United v Manchester City
- Sheffield United v Arsenal
- Norwich City v Manchester United
Six Premier League games will be played at neutral venues due to a request from the police.
Liverpool's clash against Everton – which could see Jurgen Klopp's side secure the title – is one of the matches included.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.
“As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing.
“The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures played at neutral venues.”
DESIGNS FOR DEM
Arsenal are “locked in talks” with Mousa Dembele’s representatives, according to L’Equipe.
The Gunners have been watching the Lyon striker for a number of months after a dip in form from Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsene Wenger signed Lacazette from the same club back in 2017, but the French forward has been pushing for a move to Atletico Madrid.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also been linked with a move away from North London.
A sale of either player would allow the club to draft in Dembele as a replacement, after his 22 goals in 42 games in France this season.
Chelsea are ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona, according to reports.
The Bayern Munich loanee – currently injured after surgery – is top of Barca’s list for sale, after failing to meet expectations since signing from Liverpool.
The Blues reckon they could get him for £72.3million.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal are also among the clubs interested in signing the Brazilian.
FOOTBALL RICH LIST REVEALED
KPMG have come up with a top ten of football's richest clubs.
Real Madrid are top of the tree but Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal are all on there.
Arsenal are reportedly chasing Barcelona midfielder Rafinha.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, reports from Spain are suggesting Barca are preparing a fire-sale of players this summer.
Only three players – Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen appear to be save from the flogging.
Meanwhile over at the Emirates, boss Mikel Arteta will continue his rebuild job – and Rafinha is believed to be on that list.
Mundo Deportivo reports that Arsenal staff have been monitoring the 27-year-old midfielder and he could cost as little as £13million.
Mikel Arteta has promoted youngsters Matt Smith – not to be mistaken with the Dr Who and Crown actor – and Trae Cole to the first team after returning to training.
With academy sides told to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, managers are using it as an opportunity to see at close quarters how their finest youth products will get on.
And London Colney is no exception, with a strong group of young stars including Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock all established first-team stars.
And Florian Balogun, Zech Medley, Tyreece John-Jules, James Olayinka and Robbie Burton have all made first-team appearances this season.
Hector Bellerin will be staying at Arsenal this summer despite being at the centre of the club's coronavirus pay row.
The Spanish right-back has three more years to run on the six-and-a-half year contract he signed in November 2016.
As Arsenal's PFA representative, Bellerin spoke on behalf of the players in the club's pay cut negotiations which become a strained conversation with some feeling pressured to accept a reduction.
According to ESPN, that burden weighed heavily on the 25-year-old but he is fully invested in boss Mikel Arteta's vision for the future.
GOOD MORNING ARSENAL FANS
Yesterday was a busy day as the Premier League confirmed it will return on June 17.
Manchester City vs Arsenal is starting the action.
New kick-off times have been announced and all 92 remaining matches will be televised.
As part of the plans to show every game, four matches will be shown for free on BBC for the first time.
However, all safety requirements must be in place for Project Restart to go ahead.
There will be four matches on Sundays too, at 12pm, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7pm.
In order to fit in all games on TV, new kick-off times will be introduced.
Friday and Monday games will be at 8pm, while Saturday will have FOUR matches starting at 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 8pm.
Midweek games, played on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, will have 6pm and 8pm starts, allowing fans to watch footie all evening.
In transfers, Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea are in a Philippe Coutinho transfer dogfight with the Barcelona star desperate for a £90million Premier League return.
Elsewhere Arsenal’s new 2020-21 away kit was leaked online with a blood-splatter pattern 'that looks like someone's been mauled by bear', according to some fans.
And supporters were in shock as Dani Ceballos showed off his new 'mop' hair cut after lockdown with some saying he looks like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Finally, fans also demanded Arsene Wenger 'comes home' to club as new chairman after Sir Chips Keswick retired aged 80.
The FA Cup final could be staged on August 1 – seven days earlier than scheduled.
Premier League bosses have agreed that the top-flight season should restart on June 17 and finish on July 25 or 26.
This means the FA could end the season with their showpiece final on August 1 with the match – along with the semi-finals – to be staged behind closed doors at Wembley.
Football chiefs were expecting an August 8 final as it was feared the Premier League was not going to restart until June 26.
But the news of a June 17 date has given the organisation a big boost and a bit more time to play with.
MANY LACA RETURNS
Arsenal posted a hilarious alternative commentary video on their Twitter to celebrate Alexandre Lacazette's birthday.
Arsenal will have to settle for a loan deal if they are to have any chance of signing Philippe Coutinho, according to ESPN.
Barcelona are keen to recoup over half the £142m fee they agreed with Liverpool for the Brazilian, which would price the Gunners out of the market.
However, they are willing to loan Coutinho out for a £10m fee.
But even if a deal can be agreed with Barcelona, Coutinho's £250,000-a-week wages may prove a stumbling block for the Gunners and Tottenham.
Most of the Arsenal squad have already agreed a 12.5 per cent pay cut, meaning wages the likes of Coutinho's could be out of the question.
And ESPN state that would put Chelsea in pole position to land the former Liverpool man, but so far they also have been unwilling to accept Barca's demands.
Arsenal's Premier League stats up until the football blackout.
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